#DUAgainstOnlineExams trends on twitter: understanding the controversy

On the 14th of may, Delhi university administration released a notice saying that exams will be conducted for students in their final semester/term/year in regular colleges, SOL and NCWEB for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. This notice said that exams will start from 1st of July for these students and for ex-students. It was also stated that a date sheet will be out by the end of May.

The issue lies in the conduct of the examinations. The notice states that “In case the situation does not appear to be normal in view of COVID-19 and to maintain social distancing, safety and health of the students become difficult, the university will adopt an alternative mode of examinations ie, Open Book Examinations.” The problem with holding open book online examinations have since been pointed out by the students.

All India Students Association (AISA), Students Federation of India (SFI), along with several college unions and societies called for a twitter storm on the 15th of may against online examinations from 2-3 PM using the #DUAgainstOnlineExams. The topic which was initially trending on the 3rd spot at twitter India reached the 1st spot by the end of the day with more than 30,000 tweets.

The reasons for protesting online examinations are many for the students. As it is a public University, some of the students come from remote areas an may not have access to a stable 4G or Wi-Fi connection. This makes online exams exclusionary in nature. Another argument is that with the lockdown and being stuck at home, many students, especially women students given the patriarchal nature of Indian society will be busy doing domestic work in the home, and hence will not have the time or luxury to prepare and sit for online exams. Students have also pointed out that during a global pandemic which isn’t slowing down, enforcing online exams will only add to the burden of many students who are already struggling with their mental health.

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